November 30, 2016

The donut before the sermon:

The two welfare-related articles below came to my mind when I read of the incoming Congress’ proposal for Medicare: block grants. This is, as shown below, a longtime pet conservative solution that is sold with the phrases “local control,” and “states know better,” but really ends up just being a blank check to states drawn from our (collective, federal) money with little oversight.

A few quotes from the studies cited in the Rockefeller piece jumped out at me because they mention how climate change will have an effect on a portion of the population, and it seems to me the folks who could take action on this information don’t expect to be part of that portion.

And obligatory Edroso posts because we all need to smile through the tears.

Intended Consequences Dept.

Why do welfare funds go to marriage counseling?

In August of 1996, President Bill Clinton signed into law welfare reform ending welfare as we know it. In its place came a program of emphasizing work and time limits on how long you can get welfare. It became known as TANF — temporary assistance to needy families — and states received a yearly block grant to fund the program.

So 20 years later, how have states been spending that money?

Well, in Oklahoma and many other states, tens of millions of dollars go to sometimes surprising programs, like marriage counseling.

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Zombie Notions

Welfare block grants: advantages and disadvantages

Two important implications are: (a) any system that increases state discretion in program design while continuing federal
matching funds must be viewed cautiously; (b) there is no magic bullet, so that states may respond to a reduced federal commitment coupled with greater state discretion by making “welfare reform” synonymous with cutting benefits, especially in economic turndowns.

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Department of Housing and Urban Envelopment

Meet the YIMBYs

YIMBYs are starting to make waves at city hall. In July, under pressure from YIMBYs and other urbanists who argued that the city needed to do more to include marginalized groups such as renters, immigrants and people of color, Murray announced the city was cutting formal ties with the 13 neighborhood councils that advise the city on growth and development, eliminating their funding and creating a new advisory group to come up with a more inclusive neighborhood outreach strategy. (The neighborhood councils, Murray noted, are dominated by older, white, wealthy homeowners, and are not representative of an increasingly diverse city.)

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Fuel Family Feud

The Rockefeller Family Fund vs. Exxon

The next year Roger Cohen, director of Exxon’s Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences Laboratory, wrote in an internal memo that by 2030, projected cumulative carbon emissions could, after a delay, “produce effects which will indeed be catastrophic (at least for a substantial fraction of the earth’s population).”

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File Under: No Shit, Sherlock

In latest voter ID filing, feds argue Texas discriminated on purpose

The Obama administration is arguing that Texas lawmakers intentionally discriminated when they passed a strict voter ID law in 2011. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton refuted the arguments in his own filing.

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From the Files of The Esteemed Edroso

A Return to Normalization: Rightbloggers Help Numb the Nation to Trump

[…]Brendan O’Neill, who said it was great Trump won because it meant “America Called Bullshit on the Cult of Clinton,” and made liberals who considered her “Mother Teresa in a pantsuit” cry. O’Neill was particularly pleased by the humiliation of venerable right-wing hate object Lena Dunham, Miley Cyrus, Kate McKinnon (who “played Clinton as a pantsuited angel” on SNL), “a feminist in the Guardian,” “someone at Bustle” — hmm, think I see a pattern here.


New Village Voice Column Up

[I]t’s as if he had died, and had his face wrestled by an undertaker into a cheerful, Uncle Toby grin for the casket, and then someone thought it would be nice if, before he was planted, he could be crunched into a seated position, then surrounded by children who have been promised $10 not to scream in terror while the scene was photographed.


Goebbels Comes Back As A Less-Charismatic Don Draper

Similarly, how do you know I wasn’t kidnapped by aliens, and that these cops who claim I was driving 100 mph drunk aren’t in on it? Without a major outer space exploration to check out my assertion, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.